Glenn Ryan says Kildare players were emotional on seeing gates close at St Conleth’s Park for redevelopment

Meath manager Colm O'Rourke with Kildare manager Glenn Ryan

Dermot Crowe

Glenn Ryan spoke of the emotion felt by Kildare players and followers on seeing the gates close at St Conleth’s Park for a multi-million euro redevelopment, a two-year project with work due to start on Monday. The occasion was marked by a number of special events, including a heartfelt rendition of the national anthem before throw-in by the Kildare Gospel Choir.

“There was a huge, huge desire in our lads to try to let people leave here today with a smile on their face. We knew a win would do that. A lot of memories being left here but hopefully we'll get to create many good ones down the line,” said Ryan as they closed off their league win with a second successive win to finish above Meath in fifth place.

“It's good to get two wins at the end. It's obviously a disappointing league for us overall but we have to take out of it what we can. We finished with two wins so if you're to get a couple of wins it's better to get them at the end than at the start.”

Next year Kildare could be playing their home games in Portlaoise or Carlow while Newbridge is being rebuilt, with a new stand, terracing and extended playing surface planned. Ryan said the day had brought back personal memories of playing there with club and county.

“This place is here a long time and has a lot of memories for people. A lot of times you'd look up to the stand to see people who may not be there (now). So it was a good day.

“There's nothing like a packed Newbridge. In some games here, it was brilliant, as good as anything that you'd get anywhere. I would have said that winning the couple of championships that I did with my own club here were huge days.”